"The Bouncing Ball"

Emergent Literacy

-Susan Ross


Children need to understand that each sound in a word has its own letter or letter combination—every phoneme has a grapheme.

In this lesson, children will learn ways to recognize /b/. They will learn to identify the sound /b/ in spoken words by learning a tongue twister, hand motions, and a symbol for the letter b.


One basketball

Primary paper and pencil

Poster with "Billy's ball bounced off the basket."

Cut out a rectangle on card stock and tape to Popsicle stick (the rectangle should be like a window, or picture frame and big enough to frame the B's on your poster board)

Class set of cut-out basket balls (on card stock), and glued on to Popsicle sticks

Picture of the letter b, with a basketball as the round part. (example at bottom of page)

Coloring worksheet with the letter symbol (same as above) (one per student)

Pat-A-Cake poem (on chart paper)

Book: Seuss, Dr. Dr. Seuss's ABC Book. 1963. Random House Inc.


  1. INTRO:

Say: Let's sing our ABC's.

Say: Every letter we just sang has its own sound. Today we are going to learn the sound of the letter b.

  1. Say: Raise your hand if you have ever bounced a ball. (Use the basketball now. Show the students how you dribble the ball.)

Say: Now I want you to practice dribbling an imaginary ball.

Say: When I say "bounce" and "ball", what do you notice about both of those words? (Emphasize /b/ when you say them)

  1. Say: Now we are going to learn a tongue twister. (hold up poster board)

Read for the class: "Billy's ball bounced off the basket."

Say: Now let's say it together. (Repeat four times)

Say: Now when we say it, I want you to dribble your imaginary ball every time you hear /b/. (Model for them, emphasizing /b/.)

  1. Using the rectangle on the Popsicle stick, have one student come up and frame the

words with /b/ in them. Let a few of them try while the others dribble their ball.

  1. Write a sample sentence on the board from the Dr. Seuss book. (the B page)

Model reading this to the students. Pretend to struggle with the words with /b/.

Explain that this will help them to remember that b has its own sound. Whenever they come to the letter b, they can think of a basketball to remember the sound.

  1. Using their primary paper and a pencil, the students will practice writing the letter b.

Model for the students on the board or on a big piece of paper. Show the students the

picture with the basketball as the round part of the letter. Explain that you draw

a line starting at the roof and go down to the ground, then you b-b-bounce up and

around to make a basketball shape. (have them write it about 6 or 7 times)

  1. Read Pat-A-Cake to the students and have them raise their basket balls when they

            hear /b/. (taken from http://www.first-school.ws/t/nrpatacake.html)

  1. Assessment: (use basketballs on Popsicle sticks here)

Sit down with students individually.
Say: Raise your basketball when you hear /b/.

Say these words slowly, while watching the student's response:

Bounce, ice-cream, ballet, rob, candy, grab, sing, golf, bird

Say: Now I am going to say two words at a time.  I want you to tell me in which word you hear /b/.

Bat or cat

Sing or bing

Bad or lad

Grab or great

          Sad or bud

       9.  For more reinforcement, let students color the "b is for basketball" worksheet.


For more ideas on teaching the letter b, visit:


Preschool Activities and Crafts
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Example of letter b coloring sheet:(Right click and "save image as" for yourself)

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